How to Improve Your Church’s Facebook Page, Part 3: Information
You already know that a Facebook page is a must for ministry today. In fact, for some portion of your community, your Facebook Page may be their first point of contact.
But there are so many options and so much flexibility that your page can easily become cluttered.
Your ultimate success in online ministry will depend on the quality of your posts and the relationships you build through engagement and interaction. However, giving your page itself some love can only improve its effectiveness.
This is the third in a 3-part series on improving your ministry’s Facebook page. Be sure to check out the whole series and subscribe to the Defining Grace email list in the blue box at the bottom of this post to have resources like this delivered right to your inbox!
We finish this series by looking at the information you should include on your Page. The goal of this installment is to make your page user-friendly.
And which users should we make it friendly for? I recommend you focus on visitors and local residents who are unfamiliar with your church.
Current members have many other channels through which they can get the information they need. Visitors are more likely to engage your Facebook Page long before they call or email the office, read a bulletin, or potentially even go to your church’s website.
1. About Page
The About Page tempts you to provide a ton of information. Resist the urge to fill it all in!
There are so many options because Facebook Pages need to work for all kinds of organizations and businesses. Not every section is necessary or even relevant for your church.
And remember: the vast majority of people who go to your About Page are visitors. If they are immediately overwhelmed by the amount of stuff to read, they are more likely to leave than read any of it. They don’t need a 10-paragraph history of your church or a detailed calendar of everything going on.
Only provide the information that is most helpful to a new visitor. Address, worship times, and contact information are essential. You should also take the opportunity to share your ministry’s mission and story. Just be sure to use language and themes that make sense to a visitor.
How to edit your About Page
Click on “About” in the left column below your Profile Image to access your About Page. Some of the information can be added or changed by clicking the “Edit” button next to each section or setting. Other settings are accessed by clicking on “Edit Page Info” in the top right corner of the About Page.
Edit Page Info
After clicking the “Edit Page Info” link in the top right of your About Page, a box will appear. All of the options are accessible by scrolling within the box, or you can jump to a specific section using the General, Contact, Location, and Hours tabs across the top of the box.
The General Tab includes the following settings:
- Name: This is your Page Title, which we covered in Part 1.
- Categories: This classifies your Page using tags. Available tags include Church, Religious Center, Religious Organization, and many denominations. Add up to 3 relevant tags to make sure you show up when people search for churches on Facebook.
- Description: This section is labeled “Story” on your About Page. The simple truth is that we are all self-focused when we browse online, so your Story should actually be focused on the visitor who is reading the page. What will they experience or get out of being a part of your church? And how can they take the first steps?
- On the Defining Grace Facebook Page, I tell visitors that they can make deeper connections with their community by improving their communication skills. To get started, they can go to my website, listen to my podcast, or work with me directly.
- Saddleback Church offers a great example for ministries. Their Story reads, “Find your purpose and your place at Saddleback Church. No matter where you’re at in life, we have a place for you. Welcome home.” It then directs visitors to their other social media channels.
- Consider including worship times at the end of your Story.
- Impressum: This section is for organizations operating in countries where there is a legal requirement to disclose ownership of online pages and sites. It is not currently required in the United States.
The Contact Tab includes fields for a phone number, website, and email address.
- Check the box beside each piece of information you wish to enter. After entering or editing the information, click “Save Changes.”
- The email address and website URL become clickable links on desktop and mobile. The phone number is also a clickable link on cell phones, allowing users to call you directly from within the Facebook app.
- When entering a website URL, think about which page on your website would be most helpful for a visitor to encounter first. While the home page may work, consider creating and linking to a “Plan Your Visit” page. That page should include a welcome message or video and information like worship times, parking information, childcare details, and a brief description of the worship service. Check out this example from The Gathering.
The Location Tab is where you add your address. All churches should do this. It will help you show up when people search for churches near them or in your area. It also makes your address a clickable link on a mobile device, sending users to their maps/navigation app.
The Hours Tab allows you to indicate when you are open. Some churches list worship times. Some churches list office hours. Other options include “Always open” and “No hours available.” I recommend displaying office hours, especially if you have worship times listed in your Story or elsewhere on the About Page.
Other About Page Information Fields
The rest of the information on the About Page can be edited directly from the page itself. It is organized into sections labeled General, Business Info, Contact Info, and More Info.
The General Section includes the Category and Page Title, which we covered in the previous section. You can also add or edit your Username, which affects the web address of your Page. We covered this in detail in Part 1.
The Business Info Section includes the following fields:
- Business Details: Here you can specify Price Range, which does not apply to churches. Leave it as “Unspecified.” The second section details parking options. If you’re located in an area where street parking is available or it is the only option, you can indicate that here.
- Start Date: Here you can add the year or specific date of your church’s founding.
- Mission: Use this field to display your church’s mission statement.
The Contact Info Section contains fields we covered in the previous section. However, you can use the Edit Other Accounts link to add information about your other social media profiles.
- Options include Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube, LINE, WeChat, Kik, and Pinterest.
- Since Facebook owns Instagram, it becomes a clickable link. The others are displayed as plain text, so only enter your username.
- To edit current accounts or add more accounts, hover over one of the usernames listed and click the “edit” link that appears to the right.
The More Info Section includes fields that are not relevant to most churches. The one section you may wish to utilize is About. This is a great place to list worship times. Also, as a companion to the visitor-focused Story section, you can offer a more ministry-focused description of your church here.
2. Tabs and Structure
Facebook provides a small measure of control over what is on your page and how it is laid out. The various sections of your Page are referred to as Tabs, some of which are optional and some of which are permanent. They are listed down the left side of your Page below your Profile Image. The order of this list also determines the order in which the sections appear on your Page.
Turn off any tabs you are not actively using and reorder the list so that the most important sections appear first. This will declutter your page and make it easier for people to find what they’re looking for.
How to add Tabs
Click on Settings in the top right of your Page, and then select “Edit Page” in the left column.
To begin customizing your Tabs, scroll down to the Tabs section and make sure the slider button next to “Use default tabs” is turned off.
To add a new Tab, click the “Add a Tab” button at the bottom of the list.
In the box that appears, click the “Add Tab” button beside the section you want to add to your Page. When you are finished selecting Tabs to add, click “Close” at the bottom of the box.
How to remove Tabs
To remove a Tab, click on the “Settings” button next to that Tab, turn the slider button to off, and click “Save.”
Reminder: Some tabs are required and cannot be turned off. If you are not using or focusing on a required Tab, drag it to the bottom of the list.
How to reorder Tabs
To reorder your Tabs, click and drag the three-dash icon beside the Tab’s title. The order displayed here will determine the order in which the sections appear on your Page. Put the more important sections at the top.
Overview of available Tabs
Required tabs include About, Posts, Videos, Photos, and Likes. You cannot turn these off, but you can place them at the bottom of the order if you aren’t using or focusing on any of them.
Some optional Tabs that churches might consider using include:
- Events: This lists the Facebook events created through your Page. While using paid Facebook ads has replaced Facebook events as a “best practice” in church communications circles, events are free to create and are still effective in some communities.
- Reviews: This Tabs allows users to leave reviews of your church. We covered this in-depth in Part 2.
- Groups: Does your ministry have a Facebook Group for those active in the church community? You can link the Group and the Page, making it easier for people to find your Group.
- Jobs: Are you hiring? Facebook allows you to post job openings to your Facebook Page.
The settings for these Tabs can be viewed and edited from within the Tabs themselves. Click on the Tab in the list below the Profile Image and look for an edit link or button.
Reminder: Only include the Tabs you are actively using. The more Tabs you have, the more cluttered your Page appears. And if the Page is cluttered with inactive sections or incorrect information, it can confuse users. Turn off optional tabs, like Jobs or Events, when you are not using them.
Custom and Third Party Tabs
In addition to the standard Tabs that Facebook offers, some apps and services allow you to add a custom Tab. For example, I use Mailchimp for my email list, and it allows me to add a sign-up form to my Facebook Page.
We won’t dive into all of the options here, but one Tab that I have seen many churches use displays your Instagram account. You can set this up through a service called WooBox.
Above the section where you edited your Tabs, there is a section called “Templates.” These Templates make small changes to the layout of the Page, highlighting relevant sections for different types of organizations. Unfortunately, there is not currently a Template that is ideal for churches, and so I recommend sticking with the Standard Template.
If your ministry is more like a traditional non-profit, you can check out the Nonprofits Template and see if it works for you.
3. Pinned Post
Facebook allows you to “pin” a post to the top of your Facebook Page. This post will appear first in the stream of posts at the top of your Page, even ahead of newer posts.
Consider pinning a post (or better yet, a video) that welcomes people to your Facebook Page, encourages users to engage with your Page, and invites everyone to visit a worship service.
Other great options include pinning an important announcement, a recent Facebook Live session, or a post that is generating lots of positive engagement (likes, comments, and shares).
How to Pin a Post
Navigate to the post you want to pin, and click on the “v” symbol at the top right of the post. Select “Pin to Top of Page.”
Note: You can only pin one post to the top of your Page at a time. Selecting “Pin to Top of Page” on a different post will replace the currently pinned post. That post will return to it’s place in the chronological order of your Page’s Timeline.
To unpin a post, click on the “v” symbol at the top right of the pinned post and select “Unpin from Top of Page.”
4. View as Page Visitor
When you visit your own Page, you see all sorts of administrator tools. This doesn’t give you an accurate representation of what the Page looks and feels like to a visitor. However, Facebook gives you the ability to see what a visitor sees.
In the bar below the left side of your Cover Photo, click the button with three dots and select “View as Page Visitor.”
To return to admin mode, click the link that reads “Switch back to your view” in the bar at the top of the Page.
For extra credit…
Viewing your Page as a visitor allows you to see what is displayed, but the truth is that you will always see the Page through the eyes of someone connected to the church. And since you likely wrote much or all of the content, you know exactly what you meant. This doesn’t mean it is clear or appealing to an actual visitor.
Just like stores, restaurants, and churches employ “secret shoppers” to visit and offer honest feedback, consider having someone unconnected to your church check out your Page. Find someone who fits the description of your target audience, especially if you’re wanting to reach people unfamiliar with church or faith in general. They will be able to tell you what makes sense and what doesn’t. They can also let you know if your Page provides all of the information they would want to have before visiting.
Have questions? Need help? I offer coaching for ministry leaders and organizations in online communication and social media. Use the contact form at the bottom of the page to reach out if you’re interested!